COMMENTS: Autism, Lupus and Oprah’s Oz

Rounding out the day all three networks ran health-related features.

CBS claimed an Exclusive for Sharyl Attkisson's update on the controversy over the possible risk of autism from the mercury in Thimerosal preservatives that were once used in immunization for toddlers. Attkisson aired the decision by Bernardine Healy, the former Director of the National Institutes of Health, to disagree with the medical establishment, "a powerful medical voice breaking ranks with her colleagues," as Attkisson put it. Healy used to be an in-house medical consultant for CBS News, although Attkisson did not mention that onetime link. Healy did not assert that Thimerasol caused autism, merely that public health officials "have been too quick to dismiss the hypothesis" that there might be a tiny group of children who are "susceptible" to an adverse reaction and that public health officials have been "deliberately avoiding research" into that possibility.

NBC launched a gender-targeted three-part series called Medical Mysteries into illnesses that are hard to diagnose and that afflict women disproportionately. As many as 90% of the nation's million lupus patients are female, Robert Bazell told us, "a common story for several conditions called autoimmune diseases" in which the body's "natural defenses against disease go haywire and instead of defending against germs they attack the body itself."

ABC's weeklong self-help series is dubbed The Power of 2. Each day the network proposes to suggest two simple things anybody can do to make things better. David Muir kicked off by consulting Mehmet Oz, styled the "health advocate" on dayime TV's Oprah, about a pair of powerful ideas to improve our personal health. Oz suggested we do a crossword puzzle to ward off dementia and we find out what diseases killed the members of our family tree to get early warning of genetic maladies.

As inspiration Bazell and Muir each ended his feature with a young woman jogging: Jennifer Pearce on the street to fight lupus, Lisa Przygoda on a treadmill to prevent the heart attack that killed her father.


You must be logged in to this website to leave a comment. Please click here to log in so you can participate in the discussion.